Simulating the behaviour of folded cartons during complex packing operations

D. M. Sirkett, Ben J. Hicks, Christopher Berry, Glen Mullineux, Anthony J. Medland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)


The folding carton is a widely used packaging solution. Recent European Union packaging legislation has forced carton manufacturers to use lighter-weight grades of carton board. This typically results in a reduction in board stiffness, which can lead to decreased process efficacy or even prevent successful processing. In order to overcome this, end-users lower production rates and fine-tune packaging machine settings for each pack and material. This trial-and-error approach is necessary because the rules relating machine set-up to pack design and material properties are not generally well known. The present study addresses this fundamental issue through the creation of a finite-element computer simulation of carton processing. Mechanical testing was performed to ascertain the key mechanical properties of the carton walls and creases. The carton model was validated against the experimental results and was then subjected to the machine-material interactions that take place during complex packaging operations. The overall approach was validated and the simulation showed good agreement with the physical system. The results of the simulation can be used to determine guidelines relating machine set-up criteria to carton properties. This will improve responsiveness to change and will ultimately allow end-users to process thinner lighter-weight materials more effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1797-1811
Number of pages16
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006


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